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Masques by Patricia Briggs

I found Masques on accident while looking through the fantasy section of the library. After reading the summary I decided to look up some reviews on it at home. The ones I found didn’t help at all, and they all said pretty much the same thing: poorly written, interesting characters, neat story. Wow. That helps a lot. What I was looking for was whether it was actually a safe book to read by my standards: minimal language, no sexual content, etc. Well, I have to be honest and say I was disappointed.
The story is all right. It’s a bit slow-paced and there isn’t much action, but the plot is somewhat interesting. The book is about a girl named Aralorn who works as a spy. At the beginning of the book she is spying on the wizard Geoffrey ae’Magi, whom the public adores. Aralorn can see right through his beautiful mask, however, and witnesses the horrors of the man’s private life. One such horror is that he kills children and drinks their blood to gain their magic for himself. Aralorn escapes the ae’Magi’s castle and reunites with her enigmatic companion, Wolf, whom she had rescued four year previous. The two then journey to a few various locations before finally settling in the service of Myr, the young King of Reth. Myr has set up a camp of rebellious citizens who can see through the ae’Magi’s lies and want nothing to do with him. Their presence is dangerous, however. The camp constantly battles the unpredictable weather, wildlife, and the wizard’s henchmen. Most of the book takes place in the camp without much action. I was easily bored reading this and almost set the book aside entirely. I did finish, however, and the conflict of the ae’Magi is resolved.
For those who are like me and want to know about whether there was anything foul in this book, I will be happy to spare you from the episodes I endured. If you have a weak stomach I would not recommend this to you. There are several scenes in which the description of the death of a person or thing is overdone. I very nearly threw up once or twice while reading through these parts. There are also quite a few unnecessary sexual scenes. If you don’t like reading about that kind of junk, I would again advise you to pass the book by. It can look tempting, I know – I was excited about reading it for a whole week. Once I started, however, I wished I had never seen it in the first place.
As for the writing itself, it could use some improvement. The version of Masques I read was the revised one, but it didn’t do any good. There were a few passages I had to go back and re-read because they were so unclear in the way they were worded.
Overall, I would not recommend this book to anyone. As I said before, the story was slow-paced and mostly action-less. The characters were not that interesting, and the plot was only slightly captivating. It may look like an interesting read on the outside – and I know of people who loved this book – but I do not. There was too much gory and sexual stuff in there for me to like it. Take that away and add a little action and the book might have been worthwhile. I give it 2 out of 10. Masques was very disappointing.




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